Pride and Prejudice – Should I Join "this" Group?

October 22nd, 2008 | by Jason Alba |

Recently I got a thought-provoking email from a buddy who asks about joining Groups, and what the negative affects might be.  Specifically, he is referring to a religious Group.  Interestingly, I had recently come across a few Groups for my religion and thought about joining them, but didn’t.  Here’s his question:

Will this make my profile look too “ethnic”…. and specifically religious? Do you think that could be a turnoff to non-[insert-religion-here] or non-religious prospects?

Obviously, I don’t hide my [insert-religion-here], but, except for when I pitch [insert-religion-here] companies and organizations, I am not selling that aspect in my job hunting.

Are you proud enough to join the Group?  Is this a matter of your own pride?

I opted to not join the Groups I found because I didn’t want anyone to be biased against me for joining those Groups.  Of course, I would have liked them to be biased towards me, but I weighed the pros and cons and decided to not join.

How about ethnic Groups?  I just did a search for “hispanic” and found a bunch of Groups, some with over 1,000 members.  I think these could be good to join… but I’m not sure it’s the right thing to do.  As the owner of JibberJobber, or an author, or a job seeker, everything we have on our Profile will contribute to our brand.  Of course I don’t want to work for or with someone who is prejudice, but as far as putting food on my table, I want to do what I can (ethically), and what I can feel good about, without putting myself in a situation where a decision-maker will unfairly judge me.

What about political Groups?  There are over 14,000 LinkedIn users who are in Obama’s Group, and over 3,000 LinkedIn users who are in McCain’s Group.  Is LinkedIn a good place to share this affinity, and could it have a negative impact on future business and career happenings?

The pros to joining the Groups, on the other hand, include access to those members, who might be part of my target audience.  And, of course they might find me, if they are searching on Group members.

Is that enough of a reason to do it?  I’m not saying hide, or be ashamed of, your natural affinities.  But in this crazy world of prejudice, and issues that HR deals with (if you send them a resume with a picture on it, I hear they just toss it in the garbage can and you are NOT considered anymore), it seems like it might be smart to not join.

I’d love to hear what you think.

  1. 4 Responses to “Pride and Prejudice – Should I Join "this" Group?”

  2. By Charlie on PA Tpk on Oct 22, 2008 | Reply

    One has to be very weary of what you place on LI, which is one of the reasons I use a pseudonym in place of my actual LI name.

    Joining political groups, as you noted, opens you up to potential problems, especially in such a close election; picking the ‘wrong’ candidate can bite you in the future if the other guy wins.

    I have been a member of LI for 4 years, and I have seen it morph towards another ‘social network’, and this worries me. Between the ‘photos’, the ‘what are you doing?’ status lines and the many LIONs who brag thousands of ‘contacts’, it is getting harder to discern LI from MySpace.

    Certainly not what I had in mind when I joined!

  3. By Susan Ireland on Oct 22, 2008 | Reply

    Recently I’ve struggled with the same issue, Jason. On the one hand, I want to speak out for my favorite presidential candidate, but I don’t want it to influence how people on the other side of the aisle view my professional advice. So I decided NOT to state my political views on my blog or on social networks. I figure there are other ways for me to be politically active, e.g., donate to my candidate’s campaign, talk to and email family and friends about him, or do the bumper sticker thing.

    I’ve worked with resume clients who have volunteer experience for religious groups. The question comes up whether or not to put the religious affiliation on their resume. It’s a choice each job seeker makes based on how they feel about exposing their beliefs. Some want it know ahead of time that they are active in their church or temple. Others decide to keep it private, for the reasons you stated.

    There’s no right answer on this, I’m afraid.

  4. By Daria Steigman on Oct 22, 2008 | Reply

    Hi Jason,

    I come down on the side of not broadcasting your political or religious affiliations. LinkedIn is a professional networking site, so what you do and say there is directly reflective of your brand. I don’t want to alienate a potential business contact before he or she even has a chance to get to know me. There are plenty of other places to network and forge relationships based on common political or religious leanings (especially during campaign season!).


  5. By Amy Leyack on Oct 22, 2008 | Reply

    It’s true- this is definitely a touchy subject. But, I fall into the group of being very concerned about broadcasting political or religious affiliations directly on any business-related sites. Then again, if someone really wanted to find out your religious/political leanings, all they’d need to do is “Google” you! Susan had mentioned political donations. Have you noticed- political donations are one of the first things that pop up (usually provided by the Huffington Post.)

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